If there was ever a night to forget it was this one. Or perhaps, it’s one that New Mexico United (8-7-10) shouldn’t forget any time soon. After a thorough shellacking by San Antonio FC (9-9-7), United has plenty of questions facing them as the season winds down.
From the off, it was apparent that both sides were in for a physical match. For a time, the referee let the sides play with very few fouls being called. Each side would have chances in within the first twenty minutes, with United getting the better looks. It looked as though they would be the ones to open the scoring, but they were unable to capitalize on the momentum they were building.
Just past the twenty-minute mark, SAFC defender Jack Barmby would push Justin Schmidt over one of the barriers behind the goal. The result of the play was a corner for United, but what happened in the seconds after the uncalled foul would alter the rest of the match. United midfielder Saalih Muhammad was unexpectedly shown a red card. After a lot of confusion about the reason behind the red card, it was reported that Muhammad was sent off for using offensive language.
Now needing to adjust to the man disadvantage, Troy Lesesne had his club drop into a 4-4-1 formation. But with the momentum of the match now firmly in favor of San Antonio, it wouldn’t take them long to take advantage of being up a man.
In a span of ten minutes, Christian Parano and Brian Gomez would give the hosts a two-goal lead. The two would each take very similar shots, both finding space to work on the right side of the box and finishing across the face of the goal in the bottom left corner. Even being down a man, United continued to try and press for a goal, but to no avail. The two sides would see out the remainder of the half with the scoreline remaining 2-0 in favor of SAFC.
Opting not to make any changes at half time, United was in dire need of a miracle if they wanted any hope to salvage a point. Any hope that was there would e lost before the hour mark. San Antonio forward Frank Lopez would also find himself in space on the right side of the box. Once again, he would shoot across the box and into the bottom corner.
Devon Sandoval would nearly answer only moments later, but his header would go wide left of the goal.
Forward Walter Restrepo would push San Antonio’s lead to four in the 66th. His first goal for the club was a mirror image of the earlier goals surrendered by United. Coming from the left this time, Restrepo would put a left-footed shot past Cody Mizell. Parano would later add another as time was running out.
Player of the Match
Christian Parano – Parano’s name was called all night long as he terrorized United’s backline. With a brace and two assists on the night, Parano now has five goals in the past three matches and is propelling San Antonio back into the tighter than ever playoff race.
New Mexico returns home next week after the disappointing showing in San Antonio. 1-2-2 in their last five matches, United has questions that need to be answered, and they look to rebound as they take on Orange County SC. That match will be at The Lab with kickoff scheduled for 4:00 p.m. (Mountain) on Sunday, September 1.